Ricin-Poisoned Letters Intercepted by Authorities

ANGELA GLADKIKH

Staff Writer

 

Amidst the tragedy of the Boston Marathon explosion, letters containing deadly chemicals were sent to several government officials, including the President. As of May 4, the authorities have been busy trying to figure out who was behind this plot.

On Tuesday, April 16, CNN reported that ricin-contaminated letters were seized at the government mail-screening facility. The three letters were originally directed to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker, and Mississippi judge Sadie Holland. Although the first tests were “inconsistent,” according to the FBI, the envelopes were later declared positive for ricin.

Ricin is a natural toxin that is derived from castor bean plants. Produced by crushing the beans, ricin can infect the body through inhalation, injection, or ingestion. The deadly toxin attacks the cells in the body by preventing them from creating protein, thus killing them. With no known cure, it can kill any time between 36 and 48 hours after contact.

“To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance,” read the letters. “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The first suspect arrested was Paul Kevin Curtis. The reason for his arrest was that Curtis used the same phrase to sign his papers and blog posts. However, Curtis was soon released after his lawyer argued that her client had been framed.

“I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him,” stated Curtis’s attorney, Christi McCoy, to a CNN reporter.

In fact, Curtis had no knowledge of the chemical ricin before he was questioned by government authorities.

“Well, I don’t eat rice, and I don’t have any rice in the house,” answered Curtis when asked if he sent letters containing ricin.

After Curtis was freed, a new suspect, James Everett Dutschke, was taken into custody. Although the two, Curtis and Dutschke, know one another, they do not have the best opinions of one another.

Lori Basham, Dutschke’s advocate, stated to CNN that the two met over 3 years ago, when Curtis’s brother hired Dutschke. Since then, Dutschke denied Curtis’s claim of allegedly stalking him on the Internet.

“He’s just a little nutty,” responded Dutschke on his connection with Curtis. “I don’t have a relationship with him.” “I’ve met him two times in person, and then there was a third time we sent e-mails back and forth.”

The amount of attention directed to this incident is undeniable. This kind of event is the first since the anthrax-scare on September 11 of 2001. Letters containing lethal anthrax were sent out to U.S. senators and high-profile journalists. Nobody got hurt, but this disturbance questioned the safety of mail-filtering.  

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